Ukraine agriculture boosted by new financial tool

by Arvin Donley
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KIEV, UKRAINE — The World Bank Group, in partnership with the Swiss and Ukrainian governments, announced on Feb. 8 it is rolling out a new financial instrument — crop receipts — across Ukraine to expand access to finance for small farmers, boosting agricultural productivity and supporting economic growth.

Crop receipts are a pre-harvest financial instrument, successfully used in a number of countries, which allows farmers to use future harvests as collateral, enabling them to purchase high-quality seeds and other essentials. They are expected to facilitate up to $520 million for Ukraine’s agricultural sector over the next two years. The nationwide roll-out of crop receipts follows a pilot advisory project in eight Ukrainian regions.

“Crop receipts are a highly innovative financial instrument,” said Holger Tausch, director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine. “Last year, we expanded the pilot project into eight regions, and this year we hope to expand it to the entire country.”

The project is being implemented by International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries, with financial support from Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

“Ukraine has the potential to become a global agribusiness leader,” said Jason Pellmar, IFC’s regional head for Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. “Our aim is to encourage more private investment to unlock that potential, expanding access to finance for smaller farmers, and fostering innovation in the farming sector.”

 As part of the crop receipts advisory program, IFC also has worked with the Ukrainian government to develop the necessary legislation and create a registry to track crop receipts easily and transparently. Over 200 crop receipts valued at over $53 million have been issued since the pilot project began in 2016.

IFC said it will continue to work to attract new creditors, introduce crop receipts in organic and non-export-oriented agricultural sectors, and support legislation to make crop receipts a tradeable security. 

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